FAIRFIELD — Residents on Monday approved the proposed $5.2 million budget at the annual Town Meeting, which represents an overall decrease of more than $111,000 from the previous budget, a 4.6 percent reduction.

At the meeting, which lasted about an hour and a half and was held at the Community Center on Water Street, a few dozen residents approved all the nearly 40 items on the warrant to set the budget at just under $5.2 million. The lion’s share of the cuts came from a change in the town’s waste management contract.

In the past, the town worked with the Penobscot Energy Recovery Co., or PERC, an Orrington-based company that collects and disposes of solid municipal waste. Last year the town budgeted about $364,000 to pay PERC. The contract with PERC ends in 2018, and while the town won’t have to pay that amount, there will continue to be a small budget for some municipal waste to be removed.

Town Manager Michelle Flewelling said the municipal operating budget will absorb an increase in the Somerset County budget of $15,830 and school budget increase of nearly $69,000, leaving the entire budget down $26,694.19 from last year.

The town also was able to affect the budget by selling off property. One such property, on Eskelund Drive, reduces the budget by ending bond payments on the property. Flewelling said this was the only thing out of the ordinary for the Town Meeting, and the sale of that property gives the town an unexpected $253,000, which would be distributed among the Police, Fire and Public Works departments to put toward replenishing each of their capital reserve funds.

There was a contentious moment when discussing appropriating $20,000 from cable franchise fees as “general revenue to support public, educational and governmental (PEG) access costs.” Shelley Rudnicki, a member of the school board, said the Town Council had decided to move away from the public access network model to take on management of the station themselves, and did so without posting it on an agenda. Councilor Aaron Rowden called out Rudnicki for not being honest. He said the town’s public access station had decided on its own to merge with one in Mt. Blue. While that merger was ultimately dissolved, Rowden said they had asked the town for a much larger contribution to run the station.

Ultimately, the item was passed as written.

Town Clerk Christine Keller said the item was posted as an executive session in April.

About $2.8 million of the total $5.2 million municipal budget would be covered by revenue, and the rest by taxes.

Most increases in the budget reflect increases in insurance and utility costs, which are out of the town’s control. Flewelling, the town manager, said the town was able to increase its revenue by $110,000 through excise taxes and investment income, which was not something the town had done in past years.

Some of the larger budget items included in the warrant are more than $202,000 for Lawrence Public Library; more than $1 million for the Police Department; more than $1.1 million for the Public Works Department; $260,000 for roadway and sidewalk paving; more than $215,000 for maintaining street lights and fire hydrants; and more than $853,000 for the Fire Department.

There were no elections or referendum questions for residents to consider Monday night. Fairfield residents — as well as those in Albion, Clinton and Benton — also will have the chance to weigh in on the proposed $26.2 million budget for School Administrative District 49 at 7 p.m. Tuesday night at Lawrence Junior High School in Fairfield.

The proposed budget is nearly $327,000 more than the budget from the current academic year. It represents an increase of about 1.25 percent. Initially, Superintendent of Schools Dean Baker had proposed an increase of 6.6 percent, though that figure was lowered to 2.5 percent. The finance committee later slashed that further to an increase of slightly more than 1 percent.

To make the cuts, the committee was directed to eliminate five teaching positions. Before the meeting, when the budget was unveiled, Baker said the budget was “close to being flat” and will result in an overall tax decrease in two of the towns in the school district — Albion and Fairfield — and a tax increase in Benton and Clinton.

After the meeting Tuesday, the towns will hold a budget referendum on June 12.

Colin Ellis — 861-9253

[email protected]

Twitter: @colinoellis

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